This summer has been an exciting one for League of Ireland clubs in European football.
Shamrock Rovers are already assured of group stage football ahead of their tie against Ferencvaros later tonight, while Sligo Rovers and St Pat's have also had very impressive results on the continent over the last number of weeks.
It is a hugely encouraging development for the league, with Irish clubs now slowly creeping up the UEFA coefficient board. That should mean even more European success in the future as they receive more favourable draws.
Of course, issues away from the pitch have made the results all the more impressive.
All three of the clubs mentioned above have had their travel plans disrupted in one way or another during their trips abroad. Shamrock Rovers have been forced to travel from Shannon Airport due to a lack of slots in Dublin, while St Pat's were left stranded in Bulgaria for a few days after their big win over CSKA Sofia.
It is far from ideal and one wonders whether more could have been done to help out the clubs as they represented the country on the international stage.
Brian Kerr slams Government over League of Ireland issues
Brian Kerr believes that the Irish Government deserve a huge amount of criticism for not intervening and aiding the League of Ireland sides.
Speaking on Virgin Media, the former Ireland manager said he feels that the relevant authorities would have been far quicker to get involved had it been another sport experiencing similar issues.
A passionate Brian Kerr on @ShamrockRovers and #LOIinEurope:
▪️ #UEL or #UECL better for Rovers?
▪️ Travel chaos suffered by LOI clubs
▪️ Criticism for Sport Ireland
▪️ Criticism for the Minister for Sport
▪️ Lack of respect for the LOI#RoversInEurope pic.twitter.com/J2JxlzgljK
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) August 17, 2022
Lots of teams have had the same problems (as Shamrock Rovers). Pats have had the problems, Sligo have had the problems, I presume Derry had too, in terms of getting there.
It is disgraceful that they found it so difficult to prepare for the matches in the way you should be able to...
Start off with Sport Ireland, the Minister for Sport, then the Government. I'm sure if it was other sports that were involved other than a soccer team, it would have been a lot smoother than what they've had to go through.
Going from Shannon, going and returning from Knock, Rovers got lucky the last time because there was fog at Shannon and they got to come home to Dublin. Pats couldn't come home for two days because they couldn't get a plane to get them from Sofia.
It's been awful. They haven't got the help they deserve from the authorities, who should be setting the stall out to make it as easy possible...
League of Ireland teams only get respect from the general public when they get good results in Europe against good European teams.
We need to do everything possible in our power to make that happen, get us up in that [UEFA] coefficient, and get make it easier for us to win qualification knockout rounds so that we more regularly have teams in the group stages.
While issues surrounding airports are very much common both in Ireland and abroad at the moment, you would think that teams representing Ireland in international competition should be helped out in any way possible.
With Shamrock Rovers set to have a length European campaign on the horizon, you would hope that we won't see such issues come up again in the months ahead.